JAI KISHAN Vs. REGIONAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY JODHPUR
LAWS(RAJ)-1967-12-1
HIGH COURT OF RAJASTHAN
Decided on December 07,1967

JAI KISHAN Appellant
VERSUS
REGIONAL TRANSPORT AUTHORITY JODHPUR Respondents

JUDGEMENT

KAN SINGH, J. - (1.) PETITIONER Jaikishan, who claims to be an existing operator on an inter-regional route Kuchaman (in the Jodhpur region) to Losal (in the Jaipur region), questions the validity of a temporary countersignature granted by the Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur under its circulation note No. 474 of 6th October, 1967, on a permit granted to respondent No. 2 by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur for the Sikar-Kuchaman route which is also an inter-regional route. The petitioner has prayed for an appropriate writ, direction or order quashing the countersignature as also for restraining respondent No, 2 from plying his bus under the impugned countersignature.
(2.) THE facts essential for the disposal of the writ petition are briefly these : Kuchaman-Losal is a 'c' Class route about 22 miles in length. As already observed,. Losal is in Jaipur region whereas Kuchaman is in Jodhpur region. Petitioner claims that he along with another operator is providing a regular transport service on this route. THE route Sikar-Kuchaman via Khoor and Losal is again an inter-regional route of about 46 miles in length and this route completely overlaps the Losal-Kuchaman route. Respondent No. 2 obtained a permit for providing transport service on Sikar-Kuchaman route from the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur. He then made an application before the Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur for counter signing the permit. This was done on 19-9-67. For reasons which are not clear enough, the Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur was not able to dispose of the application of respondent No. 2, and consequently on a request made by respondent No. 2, it granted countersignature temporarily for a period of four months under cover of its letter No. 5643 of 31st October, 1967. This letter was issued in pursuance of a circulation note which was No. 474 and it was circulated to the members of the Regional Transport Authority by the Secretary, Regional Transport Authority. In challenging the validity of this temporary countersignature it is contended by the petitioner that the Regional Transport Authority was not competent to grant a temporary countersignature in the manner it was done. In this behalf it is urged that the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, hereinafter to be referred as the "act", and the Rules made by the Government under the Act do not empower the Regional Transport Authority to grant a temporary countersignature on a permit issued by the Regional Transport Authority of another region on an interregional route. In the second place, it was urged that even assuming that a temporary countersignature could be granted by a Regional Transport Authority, analogous to the grant of a temporary permit under sec. 62 of the Act, such a temporary countersignature could not have been granted during the pendency of an application for the! grant of a countersignature on a permanent basis. Lastly, it was urged that the Regional Transport Authority had not fixed the timings for the plying of buses by respondent No. 2 and consequently the latter was not entitled to ply the buses till timings were fixed according to law. The writ petition has been opposed by respondent No. 2. It is denied by him that the countersignature given by the Regional Transport Authority was bad on any of the grounds urged by the petitioner. It is contended that the pendency of the application for grant of countersignature on permanent basis was no bar to the issuing of a temporary countersignature as, according to the respondent, a particular temporary need could co-exist with a permanent need and thus, according to him, the Regional Transport Authority was entitled to grant a temporary countersignature. Then certain preliminary objections against the maintainability of the writ petition by the petitioner were taken. It was contended that the petitioner-has no locus standi to file the present writ petition as the petitioner himself does not hold any valid permit for plying a bus over the inter-regional route Kuchaman-Losal. It is pointed out that the petitioner's own permit had not been got countersigned by him from the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur. Then it is urged that there was no clash between the timings of the bus which the petitioner was running on the route with those run by respondent No. 2, and in the starting time from either end of the route, Losal-Kuchaman, there was a difference of almost 8-1/2 hours between the two buses. Then it was urged that the petitioner had not filed any objection against the grant of permit by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur to respondent No. 2 and consequently he was not entitled to file the writ petition. Then yet another ground that was urged on behalf of the respondent was that the petitioner's permit itself was not valid as he had not applied for its renewal within the time allowed by law, that is, within 60 days before the expiry of his permit. Before proceeding to deal with the merits, I may dispose of the preliminary objections taken by learned counsel for the respondent. In the present case it is unnecessary to go into the question whether the petitioner is lawfully plying his bus on the portion of the inter-regional route falling within the Jaipur region in the absence of a countersignature as there is no gainsaying the fact that the permit that the petitioner has in his favour is undoubtedly available for the Jodhpur region. If the petitioner is unauthorisedly plying his bus in the Jaipur portion of the route then it will be a matter for the Regional Transport Authority concerned to take up or for the respondent to take any other appropriate action under the Act, but the fact that the petitioner has a permit in his favour and which certainly entitles him to provide transport service on the portion of the route falling within Jodhpur region does bestow on him sufficiently legal interest so as to be able to maintain the writ petition questioning the validity of the countersignature made by the Regional Transport Authority, Jodhpur in favour of respondent No, 2. Also, I am not much impressed by the plea that the timings on which the parties are running their buses do not come in clash and, therefore, the petitioner is not entitled to maintain the writ petition. The position is in a fluid state as the parties have not been able to place before me any order of the Regional Transport Authority fixing timings for the plying of the buses on this route. In that situation I do not think the petitioner can be non suited on this ground. Coming now to the contention that the petitioner not having filed objections against the grant of permit to the respondent No. 2 by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur, I consider it sufficient to say that the petitioner is not questioning the grant of the permit to respondent No. 2 by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur. What he is challenging is the validity of the countersignature made by the Regional Transport Authority of Jodhpur in pursuance of which alone the respondent No. 2 becomes entitled to run his bus on the portion of the route in the Jodhpur region. As regard the last contention, again it is sufficient to say that it was for the parties concerned to have challenged the validity of the permit in favour of the petitioner by appropriate proceedings. As long as the petitioner holds a permit in his favour, it cannot be said that he is not entitled to maintain the writ petition. I may now turn to the principle question that merits consideration. It will be convenient to read sec. 63 (omitting sub-sections which are not material) and sec. 62 of the Act. Sec. 63. Validation of permits for use outside region in which granted - (1) Except as may be otherwise prescribed, a permit granted by the Regional Transport Authority of any one region shall not be valid in any other region, unless the permit has been countersigned by the Regional Transport Authority of that other region, and a permit granted in any one State shall not be valid in any other State unless countersigned by the State Transport Authority of that other State or by the Regional Transport Authority concerned: Provided that a private carrier's permit, granted by the Regional Transport Authority of any one region with the approval of the State Transport Authority, for any area in any other region or regions within the same State shall be valid in that area without the countersignature of the Regional Transport Authority of the other region or of each of the other regions concerned. (2) A Regional transport Authority when countersigning the permit may attach to the permit any condition which it might have imposed if it had granted the permit, and may likewise vary any condition attached to the permit by the authority by which the permit was granted. (3) The provisions of this Chapter relating to the grant, revocation and suspension of permits shall apply to the. grant revocation and suspension of countersignatures of permits ; Provided that it shall not be necessary to follow the procedure laid down in sec. 57 for the grant of countersignatures of permits, where the permits granted in any one State are required to be countersigned by the State Transport Authority of another State or by the Regional Transport Authority concerned as a result of any agreement arrived at between the States. (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sec. (1) a Regional Transport Authority of one region may issue a temporary permit under cl. (a) or cl, (c) of sub-sec. (1) of sec. 62 to be valid in another region or State with the concurrence, given generally or for the particular occasion, of the Regional Transport Authority of that other region or of the State Transport Authority of that other State, as the case may be. Sec. 62. Temporary Permits - A Regional Transport Authority may, without following the procedure laid down in sec. 57, grant permits, to be effective for a limited period not in any case to exceed four months, to authorise the use of a transport vehicle temporarily - (a) for the conveyance of passengers on special occasions such as to and from fairs and religious gatherings, or (b) for the purposes of a seasonal business or, (c) to meet a particular temporary need, (d) pending decision on an application for the renewal of a permit; and may attach to any such permit any condition it thinks fit: Provided that a temporary permit under this section shall, in no case, be granted in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the grant of a new permit under sec. 46 or sec. 54 during the pendency of the application. Provided further that a temporary permit under this section shall, in no case, be granted more than once in respect of any route or area specified in an application for the renewal of a permit during the pendency of such application for renewal. " A perusal of sec. 63 shows that a permit granted by a Regional Transport Authority of one region is not usable in another region, unless the Regional Transport Authority of that region has countersigned the same. The procedure for the grant of countersignature is assimilated to that of granting of permits under Chapter IV of the Act. In other words, the procedure laid down in section 57 of the Act has to be followed by the countersigning Regional Transport Authority before it decides to grant the countersignature. The application for countersignature has to be published as if it were an application for grant of a permit; opportunity for filing objection has to be afforded and then the application is to be disposed of at a meeting of the Regional Transport Authority, in case there are objections. The parties do not dispute the position thus far. They, however, do not agree on the question whether the Regional Transport Authority is empowered to grant a temporary countersignature. Shri B. L. Maheshwari has strenuously contended that the Act does not empower the Regional Transport Authority to grant a temporary countersignature. Now this position, in my view, is not tenable. Sub-sec. 3 of sec. 63 of the Act clearly enacts that the provisions of this Chapter, which means Chapter IV, relating to the grant, revocation and suspension of permits shall apply to the grant, revocation and suspension of countersignatures of permits. The language of this sub-section irresistibly leads one to the position that the procedure for grant of a countersignature is fully assimilated to that of grant of permits by a Regional Transport Authority and the totality of the provisions relating to the grant of permits are applicable with full vigour to the grant of a countersignature. The provisions relating to the grant of permits very much include section 62 of the Act. Sec. 62 permits a Regional Transport Authority to issue temporary permits without following the procedure laid down in sec. 57 for a limited period not exceeding four months in any case and, in my view, provisions of sec. 62 would mutatis mutandis apply to an application for grant of a temporary countersignature on a permit issued by one Regional Transport Authority whose countersignatures are applied for. In these circumstances I find it exceedingly difficult to accept the contention that the Regional Transport Authority has no power whatsoever to issue a temporary countersignature. However, it cannot be disputed that for granting a temporary countersignature the conditions laid down in section 62 of the Act for the grant of temporary permits have to be complied with. The petitioner has contended that the conditions for the grant of a temporary permit as contemplated by sec. 62 of the Act did not exist in the present case. Learned counsel has submitted that as the application for grant of a countersignature on non-temporary basis had already been filed by respondent No. 2, the first proviso to sec. 62 precluded the Regional Transport Authority from granting a countersignature on a temporary basis like that of grant of a temporary permit during the pendency of an application for the grant of a non-temporary permit on a route. Learned counsel for the petitioner has invited my attention to Jairam Dass vs. Regional Transport Authority (l), Janta Transport Cooperative Society Ltd. vs. The Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur (2), and the Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation vs. Regional Transport Authority (3 ). Learned counsel for the respondent, on the other hand argues that in the case of a particular temporary need contemplated by clause (c) of sec. 62 of the Act the Regional Transport Authority can grant a temporary permit even if the need for a permanent permit is also there. In other words, according to the learned counsel, a particular temporary need can coexist with a permanent need. He submits that the filing of his application for the grant of a counter-signature on non-temporary basis only went to show that there was a permanent need for countersignature and the temporary need for countersignature also would be there, as the formalities requited for giving a non temporary countersignature may take a good deal of time and in the meantime there may be no services between Kuchaman and Sikar. He has referred me to Kulwant Singh vs. Appellate Authority of State Transport Authority (4), Biharilal Chaurasia vs. Regional Transport Authority, Rewa (5) and Bundelkhand Motor Transport Company vs. Beharilal Chaurasia (6 ). I have carefully gone through the cases to which my attention was invited. The point that directly arises for my consideration is about the applicability of the first proviso in sec. 62 of the Act. In other words, the hub of the matter is whether during the pendency of an application for non-temporary permit a party can be granted a temporary permit to meet a particular temporary need. In Kulwant Singh vs. Appellate Authority of State Transport Authority (4) provisions of sec. 62 of the Act, as it stands in its present shape, did not come up for consideration as the permits in that case were granted before sec. 62 of the Act came to be amended by Act No. 100 of 1956. Learned counsel relied on the following observations in that case: "it may be that the addition of a few buses on the route would result in distributing the passenger traffic more widely and thereby reduce the earnings of the present buses, but any restriction on this score cannot be said to be in the interest of the public generally. " Suffice it to say that these observations are totally in-applicable to the matter that I am called upon to deal with. In Bundelkhand Motor Transport Company vs. Beharilal Chaurasia (6), their Lordships while interpreting sec. 63 of the Act laid down that a permit granted by the Regional Transport Authority of one region is not valid in any other region, unless the permit has been countersigned by the Regional Transport Authority of that other region. Their Lordships added that the clearest implication of this provision was that even an inter-regional permit when granted was valid for the region over which the Authority granting the permit has jurisdiction, and when it is countersigned by the Regional Transport Authority of the other region, the permit becomes valid for the entire route. There can be no quarrel with this proposition and I am duty bound to follow what their Lordships have laid down, but this is again not the point that is receiving my consideration at the moment. The point that I am considering, I should say at the risk of repetition, is whether a countersignature on temporary basis could have been granted by the Regional Transport Authority of Jodhpur in the manner it was done. If the countersignature is not found to be valid then the whole of the permit may not fall through and what will fall through will only be the countersignature with the result that the permit granted by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur for the inter-regional route will not be valid for the Jodhpur portion of the route. No body has contended before me that the permit will cease to be valid even tor Jaipur portion of the route.
(3.) BIHARILAL Chaurasia vs. Regional Transport Authority, Rewa (5) also does not help in dealing with the point under consideration. It was observed by the learned Judges in that case that the word "grant" used in sec. 63 (3) of the Act means not only the original grant but also the grant of renewal and renewal is a continuation of the permit previously granted. I may now come to the cases cited by learned counsel for the petitioner. Learned counsel for the respondent has also placed reliance on some observations in Madhya Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation vs. Regional Transport Authority (3), cited by learned counsel for the petitioner. In this case their Lordships considered whether under sec. 62 (c) of the Act could be granted even when there was a permanent need for providing more buses on a route. Their Lordships rejected the contention raised before them that whenever there was a permanent need there could be no temporary need and held that both a permanent need for a particular route and a particular temporary need for the plying of the buses on that route can coexist and even where there is a permanent need for traffic the Regional Transport Authority could grant a temporary permit under sec. 62 (c) of the Act. 1 may observe with utmost deference that the first proviso to sec. 62 of the Act did not come up directly for consideration in that case. The question here is whether during the pendency of an application for a non-temporary permit (in the present case the pendency of an application for countersignature on non-temporary basis), a temporary permit or temporary countersignature could have been granted and whether the first proviso will stand in the way of the Regional Transport Authority for doing that. Learned counsel for the respondent presses on me to infer from what their Lordships had said that even in the case of the pendency of an application for non-temporary permit it is open to the Regional Transport Authority to grant a temporary permit as the existence of an application for non-temporary permit will only show that there was permanent need. Having bestowed anxious consideration to the matter, I am unable to accept this contention as sound. Were this contention to be accep-ted, the first proviso to sec. 62 of the Act, in my view, will be clearly rendered otiose and in construing a section no part of the section has to be overlooked or so under-rated that it may for all practical purpose become ineffective. While it is true that the existence of a permanent need will not preclude the Regional Transport Authority from issuing a temporary permit, if the necessary conditions laid down in section 62 of the Act are found to be there, yet in case an application for grant of a non-temporary permit, has already been filed and the same is pending then, in my view, during the pendency of such an application the Regional Transport Authority will not be competent to issue a temporary permit under cl. (c) of sec. 62 of the Act. Learned counsel for the respondent drew my attention specially to paragraphs Nos. 4 and 5 of their Lordships' judgment and submitted that these observations show that on account of the possible delay in the disposal of application for non-temporary permits the Regional Transport Authority could grant a temporary permit to tide over a particular temporary need. I have, with utmost respect, considered these passages, but in my view the observations of then-Lordships cannot be construed to mean that their Lordships intended to lay down that even where the first proviso to sec. 62 is applicable on account of the pendency of an application for grant of a non-temporary permit the Regional Transport Authority should be able to grant a temporary permit on account of a particular temporary need. In my view, once the stage is reached when an application for grant of a non-temporary permit is pending before the Regional Transport Authority, the jurisdiction of the Regional Transport Authority to then issue temporary permits is taken away and the observations of their Lordships, in my humble view do not militate against the provisions of the first proviso to sec. 62 of the Act. The observations of their Lordships have to be understood in the context they were made. In that case certain permits on non-temporary basis had been issued and the operator could not provide the buses and that gave rise to a particular temporary need. The judgment does not show that at the time the temporary permits were given by the Regional Transport Authority any applications for grant of non-temporary permits were also pending before the Regional Transport Authority. In these circumstances, with utmost respect, I am unable to construe this ruling to mean that the Regional Transport Authority will be competent to issue temporary permits inspite of the face that an application or application for grant of non-temporary permits for the same route are pending. The matter stands clinched, in my view by certain observations made in the Full Bench case of this court. (2) In that case the first proviso to sec. 62 of the Act directly came up for consideration and the majority decided that the first proviso to sec. 62 relates to clause (c) only, whereas Modi J. in his dissenting judgment expressed the view that the first proviso will govern clauses (a), (b) and (c) as well. According to the view taken in the Rajasthan case, therefore, there is no escape from the conclusion that clause (c) of sec. 62 of the Act is controlled by the first proviso. As a natural corollary it follows from it that where an application for grant of a non-temporary permit for a route is pending before the Regional Transport Authority that authority is wholly incompetent to grant a temporary permit by virtue of clause (c) of sec. 62 of the Act. Jairam Dass vs. Regional Transport Authority (1), to which also my attention was invited, does not deal with the present question. I am, therefore, clearly of the opinion that during the pendency of an application for grant of a countersignature on non-temporary basis the Regional Transport Authority of Jodhpur was not competent to grant a temporary countersignature to respondent No. 2 in the manner it was done. This however, will not affect the validity of the permit issued by the Regional Transport Authority, Jaipur so far as Jaipur region is concerned, but it will not be permissible to avail of that permit over the Jodhpur portion of the inter-regional route, unless a proper countersignature is issued by the Regional Transport Authority of Jodhpur according to law. In view of the conclusion that I have reached about the validity of the countersignature given by the Regional Transport Authority of Jodhpur on temporary basis, I am not called upon to deal with the question about the fixation of timings for the petitioner or the right of the respondent No. 2 to ply his bus without the timings. ;


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